The Mermaid Postcard
by Cole Bellamy
Yellow Jacket Press

"Some men would feel
As if a large bird
Had sunk talons
In their scalp
And was trying to fly
Away with them."

...She sneers through candy apple lips/With teeth sharp and white as a shark's/And a hose in her hand for breathing... So we learn of the main character in the title poem of this cleanly-written, haunting, and soul-filled chapbook. Writing in the oceanic and painfully direct style of Jose Marti (a poetic/political saint, both of Tampa and Cuba), Mr. Bellamy pays homage to his Florida roots in fifteen pieces that cut deep furrows through our political and cultural landscape. "In Jacques LeMoyne, 1566," he chronicles the artist's take on the early natives: Some of the savages/Were part deer/With antlers and hooves.... They could become any animal/By wearing the skin... And they needed magic/They had no gunpowder. Here the roots of power—its omnipresent authority and cruelty—lies seething beneath the surface of the world. Our choice is to use magic, or poetry to redeem it. And magic is exactly what we find, in the ...polished white bead/From the nightgown/. . . inside an oyster, or ...the coffee, tasting like wind from the ocean. In a guttural nod to Yeats, the mermaid mentioned above, after being plucked from, twirling/A baton in the Memorial Day parade, while Marching down Main Street/In white boots and sequins is reduced to a Postcard... Dragging a dead tail through the cypress stumps. Yes, these poems surge dark waters—evoking sorrows as deep as the sea. Fortunately, Mr. Bellamy's remarkable images create an insightful hose allowing us a chance to come up for air.

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